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Opening Bell: 03.03.11

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Hedge Funds Scramble As Rivals Exit (WSJ)
Both Level Global Investors LP and Shumway Capital Partners, which have more than $12 billion in combined assets in trading strategies involving bets on and against stocks, are both giving back cash, albeit it for different reasons. Several investors in the funds as well as consultants close to the matter say some investors are looking to put their cash into funds that follow the same "long-short" investment style. "We will probably look for a firm that is a similar strategy to Level Global," said Craig Slaughter, the executive director of the West Virginia Investment Management Board, which manages pensions and other investments for the state. It has nearly $12 billion under management and invested about $50 million with Level Global. Mr. Slaughter said his staff is working on a recommendation.

Mets Forward List Of Potential Buyers To MLB (MLB)
The list, which originally included about 30 potential buyers, includes David Heller, co-head of Goldman Sachs' securities unit, who leads one potential group of buyers with other former and current Goldman partners. Heller has already met at least twice with Steve Greenberg, the managing director of Allen & Co., who has been hired by the Mets to find a buyer, the Post reported.

Bernanke Says Stronger Recovery Would Reduce State Woes (Bloomberg)
“If the economy continues to strengthen at about the pace projected by the Federal Reserve and many private forecasters, states and localities may start to get a little breathing space,” Bernanke said yesterday.

Guggenheim to Hire 150 Proprietary Traders Fleeing Banks (Bloomberg)
Loren M. Katzovitz and Patrick Hughes, 49-year-old managing partners who have worked together since 1993, are launching Guggenheim Global Trading LLC in Purchase, New York, with an initial investment of $500 million as soon as June 1, they said yesterday in an interview. The firm plans to hire 100 to 150 traders and manage as much as $2 billion, they said.

BlackRock, Santander Said to Pursue Citi Consumer Lender (Bloomberg)
BlackRock private- equity firms KKR & Co. and Warburg Pincus LLC are considering a joint bid for the unit and are in talks to include Santander, Spain’s biggest bank, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions are private. Their team is one of at least four competing for the business, which has about $13 billion of assets, the people said.

For Muni-Bond Market, Calm After The Storm (WSJ)
Since late January, the market appears to be stabilizing. Yields on a benchmark 30-year general obligation bond have fallen 7%—only part of the way toward erasing the 22% rise between Veterans Day and Jan. 14. A few individual investors have been willing to test the waters. Rick Tronvig, 63 years old, who lives outside of Denver, hasn't owned municipal bonds for many years but recently upped his holdings to 6% of his portfolio. "It got cheap enough that it discounts the risks of default," he says.

Euro Zone Countries 'Have Cancer' (CNBC)
Periphery euro zone countries are seriously ill and will have to default on their debt at some point, Satyajit Das, a risk consultant and author of "Traders, Guns & Money: Knowns and Unknowns in the Dazzling World of Derivatives" told CNBC Thursday. So far, the European Central Bank has treated the problem as a liquidity problem, but it will have to admit that the debt will not go away, Das said. "This is like somebody with a disease, it's a major disease … they've got cancer, you've got to be honest about it," he said.